Ah...spring and the promise of summer flowers. James Vick started to make that promise glow once inexpensive chromolithography was available around 1880.
But, this first catalog is an early one from 1866, so it is visually plain in comparison. The one color plate seems more like folk art than advertisement!
To think, the year after the Civil War people were looking at this catalog.
The b&w engravings have a formal charm I like a lot.
I forget where I read it, but some of these engravings of flowers may have been used by more than one seedsman in their catalogs. An engraving business that specialized in botanical illustration to the seed trade would offer the "off the rack" plates for sale at a more attractive price than having your own illustrations custom engraved. That left more money in the budget for interesting "bespoke" art.
from the Internet Archive.